Monthly Archives: February 2013

Direct sales backorders

In the future, it would be advisable to tell your host that you cannot hold open her party due to the possibility of this happening, but for now, it is something that has to be dealt with.  This becomes more common as we get closer to holidays, but it can happen anytime, even overnight.

The first thing you have to do is call your customers and explain the situation.  If there is an alternative that you feel would work well, start by suggesting that they may prefer to get product B instead of product A.  If product B costs more, you may want to eat the cost depending on how much it is.  If product A costs more, then you would refund the customer the difference.

If there is no alternative, explain this to them and ask if there is something they would prefer to buy.  Sometimes they will come back with, “oh yes, I wanted to buy Item Z but I only had so much money”.  Then you can put this on her order and refund or charge her more as need be.

Sometimes the customer just does not want anything else but a refund.  If they paid by credit card, a refund is easy, you just charge their card less if you have not processed it.  Cash or cheque would have to be refunded when the product is delivered.  With a cheque, you need to cash it to get the money you need, unless they have cancelled their entire order.

Best time for a home event?

As far as I am concerned, the best time to do these events is when you have a new catalogue and new product.  This allows you to create excitement around the event by saying things such as be the first to experience our new X, it is awesome!

It also allows your customers a reason to come out – there are new things to see.  The goal is that they will come see the new X, want it, and book a party to get it free or discounted.  You may also get someone who comes out and loves everything you have, and wants it all but cannot afford it all.  You could get a new recruit.

When you do these kinds of events, they are not always all about sales, but you can offer incentives to get the sales if you want.  I see these are more of a chance to let people see what you have and get bookings from it.

The direct sales trade show I am at is very quiet. What should I do?

One of the first things you should do at a direct sales trade show is to visit the other vendors.  Say hi, tell them what company you are with and see where it goes from there.  If you are new to trade shows, ask them how they feel this one is going, ask if they have any tips or ideas that might help you out, and if you are interested in their product, ask them about it.  Quite often the direct sales vendors end up buying from each other while at the event.

Advertise – If you have a smart phone or laptop with you and you can access the Internet, go shout it out to everyone that there is a trade show going on.  Make sure you post the address and how late it is going on.  Mention that there are draws or any other goodies that are going on that might entice people to come out.  Encourage the other vendors to do the same.  Call people that you think would be interested or those had expressed interest in attending the direct sales trade show and ask them where they are.

Say Hi – When people do come in, make sure to say hi and make eye contact with them.  This tends to make them stop and say hi, and possibly check out your products.  If you are doing a draw, point it out to them and invite them to enter.  Do not forget to invite the other vendors to enter as well.

Make the location noticeable – Another suggestion to get your direct sales trade show noticed is to put some balloons out in front of the location as well as some signage indicating what is going on.  If people do not know that you are there, they cannot come in.

What else would you recommend to someone in this position?

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How Customers pick a Direct Sales Consultant

When it comes to your customers and how they pick a direct sales consultant to deal with, some of them pick the first person they encounter whereas others do some research.  If you know what they use to pick a person, it may help you get found more easily.

The Consultant they know – The easiest way to get new customers is to do parties.  Chances are, when those people are ready to book their own direct sales event, they will contact you as they know you already.  They know that they are able to trust you to show up, take the orders and deliver the product in a timely manner.  But, if you did not do that or if they did not like you for whatever reason, they are likely to look for someone else.

Ask Friends – If a person has not been to a direct sales event in a while and is looking for a consultant, chances are they are going to be looking around to find one.  A method they use is to then ask their friends if they know any consultants with the company they want to have a party with.

Company Website – Many times people will head to the company’s website to find a consultant.  Check your company’s site occasionally to make sure that you are listed there.  If you are not, you may want to check with your company to see what they require to make sure you get a listing.  People may also choose to contact the company directly to find a direct sales consultant, especially if no one comes up on the list.

Local Classified – Another option for someone is to check out the local classifieds to see if they can find a representative.  You should always have an active ad if you can for this reason.  It does not have to be an ad about booking a party – it could be a stock sale, a link to like your fanpage or information about a new catalogue that just came out.

Facebook – If you do not have a fanpage, you may want to consider getting one.  I have had a few customers find me by typing in the company name in the search box.  My fanpage is titled with my name and then independent consultant and my company’s name.  This meets the requirements that my company has as well as letting people know what company I am with.

Search Engines – Have you ever checked the search engines to see if you come up?  Chances are, you may not if you only have your site through your company, but if you have done some other things to advertise yourself, you may be surprised.  Just type in “Your Company Your City” and see what comes up.  I know my Facebook fanpage has been found that way several times.

The easier you are to find, the easier it will be for people who do not know about you to locate you and engage your services.  If you do not find yourself with these searches, you may want to work on having people find you.

 

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Other booking seeds to use during your show.

The offer is so Good not even YOU can believe it!

“I can’t remember the last time they ran a special this good!”

“They must have lost their minds to run such an AWESOME Special!  We have never done anything like this before.”

“I can’t believe it myself!”

 

Immediacy Factor:  People act when they feel a sense of urgency.

Create urgency by saying things like:

“I only have a few dates left open” or  “This offer will end in 2 wks” or “ This offer is only for those who schedule their Shopping Sprees TONIGHT WITHIN 3 WKS!” or on Star Hostess nights?

 

Testimonials:  Use Client testimonials to sell the idea of booking

“I’m so glad (prior hostess) is with us tonight! ______ just had a party with me 3 weeks ago, and how much did you get in hostess credits?” (She answers) “Not only did she receive ______ credits but tonight she will receive $35 FREE just for ________(hostess name) booking her show off hers.  And last week she got 65% off an item at her first party that was held off hers. (Then you can add-” AND in 2 wks her 3rd party will be held and she will receive an additional $50 more absolutely FREE plus a FREE booking bonus item!”  “Now how many people in here wished you was ______(prior Hostess) or _______ (hostess) so that you could be earning the FREE Shopping Sprees?”

 



Judy Garey, aka the Party Plan Booking Queen, trained hundreds of distributors via company conventions and teleconferences in booking parties and hostess coaching. Her ability to book and hold unbelievable amounts of parties led her to being the top sales producer, earned her several trip promotions and invitations to serve on many leadership teams. She continues to serve the industry by providing training on understanding personality styles to increase sales, bookings, and sponsoring. You can find more information at http://www.judygarey.com

Party Statistics you should Know

statistics

Image via Wikipedia

Don’t groan – I promise you this will not be too bad or painful and it is really for your benefit!

Party Average – Do you know how much your average party is?  If not, I recommend you figure it out as people are going to ask you, especially if you are trying to recruit.  If you are not sure, add up the totals for each party and then divide by how many parites you did.

Example:

Party 1 – $450; Party 2 – $600; Party 3 – $200 and Party 4 – $550

Total $1800 in sales divided by 4 = $450 average

Once you know your party average, you can also use it to help you book.

“My average hostess has a party worth $450, and at that level she gets X free and Y at half off!  Not to mention this and that benefit!”  (Note: You may also want to round it up to 475 or 500 to try and increase your average)

Average Order – Same idea as the above, but you are going to figure out how much each person spends.

Party @ $450 in sales – We know that we had 6 people ordering.

$450 divided by 6 = $75 average order

You can also add up all the parties, and then divide that by the amount of orders.

$1800 divided by 30 orders = $60 dollars

Use the higher number and use that when doing your hostess coaching.

“My average party has 6 orders that average $75 each making the party worth $450.  But each buying customer you can get to attend will bring that up allowing you to earn more even more free and discounted!”

I would also recommend you keep track of how many people attend each party so you have an idea what percentage of customers will buy.

For instance, if you have an average of 10 people attending, with 6 ordering and those average orders are $75, then you should have a $450 party.

Do you track your numbers at all?  Do you find it helpful in your business?

  • Increasing Sales: Shopping Clubs (directsaleshelp.com)
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How to Prevent Audits at Tax Time

Filing your federal tax return is probably either your favorite time of year or a tedious task that depletes your savings account. If you’re self-employed, you may have already figured out that you can deduct all sorts of things when April rolls around. Independent contractors who work in direct sales enjoy many different benefits at tax time, including deductions for business-related expenses and the ability to write off debts from self-employment. Make sure that you only deduct applicable expenses if you don’t want to find your tax return on the local auditor’s desk.

Don’t Get Greedy

Make sure you’re only claiming real deductions as you fill out your federal return. It’s okay to claim meal expenses and mileage for some professions, but review current IRS rules first. Auditors are said to have a strong interest in returns filled with deductions, so keep that in mind before you take off a few bucks for that lunch at Applebee’s.

Don’t Tell Them More Than They Need to Know

When you file a federal return, there’s no reason to mail in receipts or a copy of your self-employment earnings.  If the IRS wants this info, they’ll ask for it.  Don’t trigger an audit by offering extra documents or information.

Don’t File Too Early or Too Late

Self-employed folks should avoid filing on the first day of tax season or preparing a return long after April 15th has passed. Play it safe and file in February or March with the majority of the other taxpayers.  Avoid doing anything to call attention to your return, like requesting extension after extension or amending it at the last possible minute.

Final Thoughts

Tax time is never fun, but it’s even more stressful if your expenses are audited.  Play by the rules and keep an eye on your deductions to avoid receiving an unexpected letter from the IRS months after submitting your return.

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Top Ten Ways to Increase your Sales During a Recession

It holds true in any business; when your customers suffer, your business suffer. Especially when faced with such a slow recovery and talk of double recession in the Europe and the UK.

To keep afloat during rough times, you have to change the way you think about your business and advertising. What worked in the past does not work anymore. Businesses have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ or they will be wiped from the face of the earth.

Here are some ways to increase your sales during a recession:

  1. Offer bargains. In hard times people are looking for bargains more than before. Offer temporary price reduction to increase interest.
  2. Build up morale among your sales people. They are the front of the company and the more optimistic they are the more it instills a sense of security. Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter says this is not the time to cut back on treating your team. Anxious customers need to see friendly faces. Treat morale building as an investment.
  3. Spend time on market research. If you are not busy selling, see what others are doing and think of ways to improve your outreach. Find what customers are not buying now and adjust your business model.
  4. Shift your resources and spend more on marketing. During a recession marketing is cheaper to buy and you have to reach more customers from different circles. Some of the marketing can be done online for free. Educate yourself or hire someone who knows social media.
  5. Follow up on old leads. Things might have changed. When things slow down it’s time to reach into the deep drawer and pull out all those business cards you haven’t seen in a while. Every little bit helps and few connections with old clients can expend your circle.
  6. Good customer service will make them come back. In a recession, when everyone is cutting prices, the way to excel is with customer service. Cherish your clients and be sensitive to their needs. Deliver on your promises and resolve complaints quickly.
  7. Find ways to attract new customers by offering payment plans, small orders or bulk prices, things you might have rejected in the past. Be more flexible than you have been before.
  8. Give your clients something more. Additional serviced such as warranty, telephone support or on-site visits, included in the purchase price, will make them feel supported and will cost you very little.
  9. Expend on partnerships. You are not the only one who is suffering right now, so search around to see if there’s someone you can partner with. You can share the cost of advertising, among other things.
  1. Re-negotiate. See what you can do to lower your costs. Find new and cheaper suppliers, maybe alternative shipping methods which will reduce the price per item

The way to increase your sales during a recession is to understand how important each and every client is to your bottom line. Good service, expert advice, and personal attention will make your clients want to come back and bring their friends.

About the Author:
Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges. It is one of Australia’s pioneer and leading providers of TAFE courses and business management courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines.

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Can I Host Multiple Parties at Once?

Even if you’re new to direct sales, you’ve probably attended – or hosted – a Pampered Chef dinner or Mary Kay makeover at least once in your life.  As you laughed and gossiped with your girlfriends, did it ever occur to you to combine your parties into a giant direct-sales extravaganza?  You can easily host multiple parties at the same time, and it might just boost your revenue.

Think about your target audience for a minute.  What do they like?  How old are they?  What type of budget do they have?  As you’re thinking about the category most of your customers fall into, you may realize that your Tupperware customers might love storing your friend’s Dove Chocolates in your handy containers.  Your Avon ladies might have a blast getting all pretty while a Pampered Chef consultant whips up a tasty feast in the kitchen.  Your Scentsy buddies will probably also love the smell-good stuff over at PartyLite.

Talk to your customers to find out how they feel about a combination party.  You might be surprised by how excited they are.  Many people hate attending parties alone, and a combination party makes it easier for them to find a friend to bring.  Ladies who don’t like Tupperware might enjoy the handy kitchen supplies offered by Pampered Chef, making it easy for each attendee to find a guest or two to bring.

Consider offering the other associate(s) a percentage of the party sales.  This will get them on board and make them more likely to help promote your combined party.  Schedule your party for the same amount of time that you usually set aside for direct sales events, typically somewhere between 2 to 4 hours.  Make sure to bring plenty of change to eliminate some of the potential hassle associated with divvying up end-of-party funds.

You don’t have to host solo parties to make a decent profit. Network with other men and women in direct sales and give a combination party a try.  You might just hit your monthly sales goal sooner than you expect.

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